The HIV/AIDS pandemic and its impact on women prompt the investigation of prevention strategies to interrupt sexual transmission of HIV. Long-acting drug delivery systems that simultaneously protect women from sexual transmission of HIV and unwanted pregnancy could be important tools in combating the pandemic. We describe the design, in silico, in vitro and in vivo evaluation of a dual-reservoir intravaginal ring that delivers the HIV-1 reverse transcriptase inhibitor tenofovir and the contraceptive levonorgestrel for 90 days. Two polyether urethanes with two different hard segment volume fractions were used to make coaxial extruded reservoir segments with a 100 mm thick rate controlling membrane and a diameter of 5.5 mm that contain 1.3 wt% levonorgestrel. A new mechanistic diffusion model accurately described the levonorgestrel burst release in early time points and pseudo-steady state behavior at later time points. As previously described, tenofovir was formulated as a glycerol paste and filled into a hydrophilic polyurethane, hollow tube reservoir that was melt-sealed by induction welding. These tenofovir-eluting segments and 2 cm long coaxially extruded levonorgestrel eluting segments were joined by induction welding to form rings that released an average of 7.5 mg tenofovir and 21 μg levonorgestrel per day in vitro for 90 days. Levonorgestrel segments placed intravaginally in rabbits resulted in sustained, dose-dependent levels of levonorgestrel in plasma and cervical tissue for 90 days. Polyurethane caps placed between segments successfully prevented diffusion of levonorgestrel into the tenofovir-releasing segment during storage. Hydrated rings endured between 152 N and 354 N tensile load before failure during uniaxial extension testing. In summary, this system represents a significant advance in vaginal drug delivery technology, and is the first in a new class of long-acting multipurpose prevention drug delivery systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)